From the corrections column of the New York Times:
An article on Monday about the New York Public Library's revised renovation plan for the Mid-Manhattan Library and the flagship Fifth Avenue building misstated the projected cost of updating the stacks at that building. It is $46 million, not $24 million.
From the now-corrected article itself:
Anthony W. Marx, the library's president, said the historic stacks in the main building, whose removal was a disputed element in the original plan designed by the architect Norman Foster, would be kept, but not returned to service as a storage area for books.
The cost of bringing the stacks up to code is projected to be $46 million, $24 million more than it would cost to put the books underground, a sum that Mr. Marx said the library can use "for hiring more librarians and buying more books." So the shelves will stay empty, and the books will reside in expanded storage space under Bryant Park. "We think that's the responsible thing to do," he said.
It's a city library and the city is talking about putting in about $150 million toward the $300 million renovation. Wouldn't it be cheaper for the city to just grant a waiver to allow the stacks to remain in use the way they have been for decades? There are other parts of the renovation project that may be program-driven rather than code-driven. But these stacks are areas restricted to the use of the library staff. If they aren't entirely handicapped accessible or fire-sprinklered whatever the issue is, does it really justify moving the books somewhere else at a cost of $24 million? Maybe there's an explanation here, but it sure seems like an example of regulation run amok.